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Restaurants & Bars 11

Ma Bo Tofu Ramen @ Ramen Rama, Cupertino

Melanie Wong | Jun 10, 200508:50 PM

On Wednesday night my brother met me in Cupertino to check out the newest ramen house. Auntie Helen, who has been watching the build-out, came with us. She had already been there twice before. The manager, John, recognized her, greeted her warmly, and offered up a comp of one of the day's specials, a skewer of grilled squid legs with scallions for each of us.

We liked it so much we ordered the other special, grilled pork skewers (2/$2). This was even better. Made with the chewy and flavorful neck meat, the seasoning was perfect with the charry flavor. John said that this type of dish would be served at the adjoining Red Miso restaurant when it opens (in the next few days/weeks).

We tried a couple other snacks as well. The chicken kara-age was pretty bad. I've had this dish nearly a dozen times in the last year and this was the worst. The chicken was hardly marinated and had little flavor of its own. The breading was pasty and soft instead of crisp. And, it was served with kewpie mayonnaise (that's okay) and commercial ponzu sauce (not okay). The gyoza sampler was even worse. The fried veggie gyoza were edible, though not recommended. The pork gyoza reeked of garlic and raw onions. The shrimp and the duck gyoza were virtually indistinguishable from each other, tasting predominantly of raw onion and cabbage encased in an undercooked, soggy wrapper.

I had the tonkotsu ramen, which was decent but very generic. Though ordered "firm", the noodles were softer than they should be. They were abundant though, as has been the case at all the Chinese-owned ramen places I've tried. The roast pork was dry and frazzled around the edges, like it had been precut, though it did have okay flavor. The broth was on the dilute side. The hard-boiled egg tasted only of soy sauce and no other seasonings.

William fared better with the ma bo tofu ramen, topped with corn niblets. The tofu was very fresh and tender, and the spicing had deliciously balanced heat. The miso soup itself was rather weak and needed the boost of flavor from the ma bo tofu blend. This would be worth ordering again.

Ramen Rama
19774 Stevens Creek Blvd.


1. Ramen Halu, San Jose
2. Santa, San Mateo
3. Ryowa, Berkeley
4. Himawari, San Mateo
5. Ryowa, Mountain View
6. Maru Ichi, Mountain View
7. Tanto, Sunnyvale
8. Do-Henkotsu House of Tokushima Ramen, San Jose
9. Gen Ramen, Fremont
10.BY Grill, San Francisco
11.Masa’s Sushi, Mountain View
12.Oyaji, San Francisco
13.Maru Ichi, Milpitas
14.Tomoe, San Rafael
15.Ringer Hut, San Jose
16.Tazaki Sushi, San Francisco
17.RamenRama, Cupertino
18.Ogi-San Ramen, Cupertino
19.Kaimuki Grill, San Mateo
20.Tanto, San Jose
21.Okazu Ya SF (Noriega), San Francisco
22.Ramen Club, Burlingame
23.King’s Garden Ramen, Newark
24.Sushi Bistro, San Francisco
25.Lakuni, San Mateo
26.Iroha, San Francisco
27.Manpuku, Berkeley
28.Tanpopo, San Francisco
29.Sushi Yoshi, Newark
30.Suzu Noodle House, San Francisco
31.Oidon, San Mateo
32.Katanaya, El Cerrito
33.Sapporo-ya, San Francisco
34.Tokyo Ramen, Milpitas
35.Hotei, San Francisco
36.Bear’s Ramen House, Berkeley

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